Grant Wood, Daughters of Revolution, 1932, oil on Masonite, 20” x 39.9”, Cincinati Art Museum, Cincinnati, Photo by Wmpearl, Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Don’t Mess With Grant Wood

Grant Wood clearly did not like the ladies he painted in his Daughters of Revolution, a satirical portrait of representatives of the Daughters the American Revolution (DAR) service organization for women who are descended from someone associated with the American Revolution.

As the story goes, the DAR objected to the artist’s use of German-made glass for a stained glass window in a public war veterans’ memorial commission in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  Wood fought back with his paintbrush rather effectively characterizing these ladies as hypocritical, self-righteous and myopic.

In Wood’s painting, three members of this social group stand proudly before a framed reproduction of Emanuel Leutze’s Washington Crossing the Delaware.  Of course, Wood knew that Leutze was a German and the painting was executed in Düsseldorf.  Touché, Mr. Wood.  The artist astutely characterized the smug expressions on the faces of the women with mole eyes, thin-lipped mouths and pinched noses.

And then there are the age-old indicators of mercantile wealth with the imported pear earrings, teacup, and lace collar.  Each lady has one.